gmhTODAY 19 gmhToday April May 2018 - Page 114

it’s your SWING BY DON DELORENZO Golf…the Ultimate Spectator Sport H ave you ever watched a football game from the sidelines? Been on the court for a basketball game or on the fi eld so close to a baseball game you can smell the grass? The answer is probably no. Most major sports put their fans in the stands. You know what I mean. You are sitting cramped in a hard plastic seat next to someone who is obviously too large for the design of that seat and you are just waiting for him to spill his beer and nachos all over you. Not only that. You’ve paid at least $100 to $500 for that seat. Add the $30-$50 to park and the $100 you dropped at the concession stand for a couple of hot dogs, beers and some nachos and you are into the day for close to $1000 for two people. And you pay this to watch your favorite team or players from seats that you need binoculars to view them with. Have you ever been a spectator at a professional golf tournament? The answer for most is probably no. Those who have experienced one probably know already that the experience is just short of awesome. Don’t play golf? You don’t have to be a golfer to experience the beauty and appreciate the talent of the athletes that are before you. We are so very lucky that we live in an area that hosts several PGA golf tournaments close by on a regular basis to watch. The recently completed AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am is a perfect example and second only to the Waste Management Phoenix Open as the premier spectator golf tournament. Let’s talk about why you should go watch a golf tournament. We can start with the beauty of the venues. Pebble Beach is arguably one of the best spots in the world. It has been quoted as “the greatest meeting of land and sea”. A walk around Pebble Beach Golf Links is usually not accessible without paying a $500 green fee. But during the tournament you can stroll the links for between $40-$70 depending on which day you choose to go. That’s a far cry from the aforementioned prices you would pay at other professional sporting events. There you will see the top players of the world com- pete on the top course in the world alongside some of today’s most popular celebrities. To name a few, celebs such as Bill Murray, Justin Timberlake, Tony Romo and Larry Fitzgerald regularly come to Monterey to play in this event. During a golf tournament you can slip on your favorite walking shoes and walk a few holes or all 18 holes. You can sit at a favorite spot that has a beautiful view and watch everyone play through. When you get tired of that spot you can get up and move to another, maybe to catch a glimpse of a favorite golfer or celebrity. Unlike a major sports venue, you are not held to section 101, row 24 seat 13! The entire golf course is at your disposal and you are free to roam the fairways to catch the action. If you’re lucky, you can position yourself in an area where you can get a view of the best golfers in the world executing a shot. Many times, with patience, you can be a mere few feet away as they launch a drive spiraling 300 yards down the fairway. The other wonder- ful thing about a golf tournament is you are not required to eat the food that is there. Throw a picnic lunch in your backpack. Pick a great spot off the beaten path or along- side one of the fairways and enjoy “lunch with a view” at no extra charge. Speaking of no extra charge, parking is FREE and there is a shuttle service that drops you off at the golf course, where you are free to roam. Want to go from one course to another? There is a shuttle for that too. There are also shuttles that will take you from one area on the course to another if you don’t want to walk too far. If you want a golf tournament experience like none other plan a trip to the Waste Management Phoenix Open next winter. The most popular spectator event on the PGA tour, they set attendance records every year with over 500,000 spectators. The 17 th hole in particular is a stadium setting with seating for 20,000 people and there is a line to get in every day. People wait hours for a seat and it is described as “one big party”. This year, fans were treated to a “streaker” sprinting around the par three fairway for a few minutes. Spectators are known to hiss and boo at bad shots and cheer loudly for great ones. The neat thing is the pros know what they’re in for when they enter this arena and really seem to enjoy it. So whether you are golfer or not, casual fan of golf or not; a professional golf tournament is a great way to spend a day in the sunshine all while getting exercise and enjoying great athletes perform at the highest level. So mark your calendars and grab those walking shoes for two great golf tournament viewing opportunities coming up next year. The AT&T is the first week of February and the 2019 event of the Central Coast, the 2019 U.S. Open at Pebble Beach, will be held in June and culminate on Father’s Day. WESTERN GOLF GETAWAYS 114 GILROY • MORGAN HILL • SAN MARTIN APRIL/MAY 2018